High Intensity Drug Trafficking AreaInternational
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Chicago HIDTA

Mission Statement: The mission of the Chicago HIDTA is to measurably reduce the illicit drug threat by building partnerships, combining resources and leveraging shared information to enhance public safety.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1995
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
Illinois: Cook, Kendall, Grundy, and Will counties
Contact: (312) 603-8000 and www.chicago-hidta.org

Threat Abstract:

The Chicago HIDTA was established in 1995 to assist local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in dismantling the Gangster Disciples street gang, thereby reducing the flow of illicit drugs and decreasing drug-related crime in the Chicago area. In 1997, the Chicago HIDTA became a full HIDTA and broadened its attack on illicit drug trafficking and related criminal activity.

Chicago is a city of 3,000,000 people with a metropolitan area population of over 8,000,000. Chicago encompasses 1,900 square miles, is a national transportation, financial and industrial leader. It has achieved international notoriety as a world financial center and cultural Mecca. Its diversified economy is based on manufacturing, finance, printing and publishing, insurance and food processing. A substantial industrial base and a well-developed transportation network of highways, airways and waterways contribute to the city's position as a national transportation and distribution center. Because of its size, its ethnic diversity and the easy access to and from the city, Chicago has become a major distribution hub of narcotics and other controlled substances for the entire heartland of the United States.

Chicago is a major hub for illicit drug trafficking by Mexican, Colombian and Nigerian criminal cartels distributing cocaine, heroin and marijuana in Chicago and throughout the entire Midwest. Street gangs dominate the local distribution and sale of illicit drugs. As a result, the number of drug related crimes, principally violent crimes, is particularly high. The popularity of "Club Drugs", such as MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB and Ketamine, in the suburbs indicates a growing trend among the suburban youth in their late teens and early twenties.

Strategy Abstract:

The executive committee, which oversees and approves the various initiatives undertaken by the Chicago HIDTA is comprised of 8 federal and 7 state and local law enforcement command officials in the Chicago metropolitan area. The executive committee assures the coordinated efforts of the various agencies and the elimination of duplicated efforts. They also support programs aimed at demand reduction. The office of the Executive Director oversees the cooperative efforts of each initiative and assures the appropriate resources are allocated when required.

Chicago HIDTA initiatives include 10 multi-agency task force groups consisting of local, state and federal enforcement personnel and three support groups - administrative, investigative and technical.

Investigative Support Center:

The Chicago HIDTA Investigative Support Center consists of two groups, the Trends and Assessments Group (TAG) and the Investigative Support Group (ISC). The TAG provides HIDTA management with trends, forecasts and threat assessments to assist decision makers in planning enforcement operations, and in allocating manpower and fiscal resources. The ISC directly supports the investigation. Analysts work closely with the investigators and/or the prosecuting attorneys, providing subject and group profiles, link analyses and other relevant and material information gleaned from various databases and from arrest reports, surveillance reports, and so forth. The ISC maintains an Inquiry Desk, which provides rapid response and support to investigators in the field who might have need for specific information regarding locations, individuals, businesses, properties, ownership of properties, criminal histories, subject photographs and so forth.

Initiatives that were approved to implement the 2000 Chicago HIDTA Strategy:

  1. Inner City Street Gang Sources of Supply is a multi-agency collocated Task Force, which has the responsibility to identify and to target mid and upper level drug traffickers, including those national and international cartels, which supply organized street gangs in the greater metropolitan area of the City of Chicago.
  2. South Suburban Initiative is a multi-agency collocated Task Force, which has the responsibility to identify, to target, and to dismantle those local distribution networks controlling the supply and distribution of illicit drugs to street dealers in the south suburban areas of Cook County.
  3. North Suburban Initiative is a multi-agency collocated Task Force, which has the responsibility to immobilize and dismantle drug trafficking organizations in the northern suburbs of Cook County with direct ties to source countries. The Task Force is responsible for targeting street level and mid-level dealers in the northern suburbs of Cook County and for developing intelligence on the production and dissemination of the drugs.
  4. Violent Crime Drug Task Force is a multi-agency collocated Task Force responsible for identifying, targeting and prosecuting those individuals responsible for murders or violent crimes committed in furtherance of maintaining, expanding, consolidating or defending illicit drug trafficking activities.
  5. Tri-County Initiative is a multi-agency group of Task Forces responsible for identifying and targeting drug distribution groups based in Chicago and Cook County who ship and/or sell drugs in Will, Kendall or Grundy Counties. Four existing Task Forces in the three collar-counties cooperate with the Task Forces in Cook County to target those individuals and organizations, which traffic across county lines.
  6. Narcotics and Currency Interdiction is a multi-agency Task Force, which utilizes surveillance and intelligence analyses to identify, to target, and to interdict illicit drug and currency shipments generated by drug trafficking organizations.
  7. Suspicious Activity Report Review Team (formerly Financial Investigations Group) is a multi-agency Task Force responsible for identifying, disrupting and dismantling those organizations which are involved in laundering the proceeds generated by the illegal sale of controlled substances.
  8. International Source of Supply Initiative is a multi-agency collocated Task Force whose mission is to locate, to identify, to target, to disrupt, and to dismantle those established drug trafficking and money laundering organizations based in Cook County, especially those organizations, which use Chicago as a storage and transshipment center for distribution throughout the Midwest and the United States.
  9. Package Interdiction Team is a multi-agency Task Force, which target the shipments of illicit drugs transported by governmental and/or private delivery or courier services. This Task Force profiles packages at U.S. Postal facilities and at private carrier facilities to identify the point of origin and to target offenders and associated dealers for arrest and prosecution.
  10. Rail Interdiction is a multi-agency Task Force whose task is to target, to interdict and to investigate large quantity international shipments of illegal drugs transshipped to the Chicago area via rail. As the major rail transportation hub of the United States, Chicago is the principal site where rail traffic entering the United State from the southern border is consolidated for shipments destined for Chicago and beyond.
  11. Technical Support Group provides technical assistance and equipment to support Title III activities, Pen Registers, and other specialized and technical surveillance operations. The Tech Group provides video and audio enhancements. It provides for the sharing of technical equipment owned and operated by the sponsoring agencies and it coordinates the procurement of specialized equipment needed but not available from any other source.
  12. Investigative Support Center collects, compiles and analyzes data regarding illicit drug and associated criminal activities. It disseminates and exchanges counter-drug intelligence information. It operates a national Pointer and a regional Deconfliction system. It provides and coordinates counter-drug and related law enforcement training. It provides case and trial support to federal and to state prosecutions. It serves as a resource for technical assistance to law enforcement efforts throughout the Chicago HIDTA area of concern.
  13. Chicago HIDTA Director's Office is responsible for the development and implementation of the HIDTA's strategy, initiatives and budgets based on the threat assessment. The HIDTA Director is the point of contact for all information disseminated from ONDCP, and is a conduit for the reports and information to ONDCP.


The value that HIDTA has added to law enforcement in the Chicago area includes, but is not limited by, the following: greater coordination and information sharing among law enforcement agencies than has ever been evident in the past; providing federal money laundering expertise to state and local agencies on a continuing basis for the first time; implementing a rail interdiction program for the first time; and instituting a Pointer and a Deconfliction Program for the first time.

Participating Agencies:

Federal: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Internal Revenue Service, United States Attorney's Office, United States Customs Service, United States Marshals Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, Housing and Urban Development-Office of the Inspector General
State: Illinois State Police, Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Illinois National Guard
Local: Cook County Forest Preserve Police, Cook County Sheriff's Department, Cook County State's Attorney, Grundy County Sheriff's Department, Kendall County Sheriff's Department, Will County Sheriff's Department, Bartlett Police Department, Blue Island Police Department, Bolingbrook Police Department, Braidwood Police Department, Calumet City Police Department, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Heights Police Department, Elk Grove Village Police Department, Joliet Police Department, Lockport Police Department, Matteson Police Department, McCook Police Department, Oak Forest Police Department, Oswego Police Department, Palatine Police Department, Plano Police Department, Railroad Police, Riverdale Police Department, University of Illinois at Chicago Police Department, Waukegan Police Department, Yorkville Police Department

Information is provided by the Chicago HIDTA.

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